Feb 13, 2022·edited Feb 13, 2022

Thank you for this detailed article on an important topic. A few additions:

Some lies have more consequences than others. Our society actually values some lies (e.g. lies that allow everyone to save face and don't create any victim). I take that you are focusing here on lies that carry meaningful consequences.

Lying is a behavioral habit to an extent: some of us lie more, some of us less. This matters a lot, because it may become part of your brand, and i doubt anyone wants to be branded as a liar.

Lying is putting your credibility at risk. Is it worth it? What's the next best available alternative? Could there actually be a better alternative? In my experience, there typically is, but feel free to try me.

If I remember well, a world-class liar once told me: "it's only a lie if you get caught". I also remember them asking me the difference between a great and an ok liar: "a great liar never lies"

There is a fundamental difference between taking about what was/is and what will be. Unless speaking with an accredited fortune teller, nobody should take anything one says about the future as anything but a dream that may or may not become reality.

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An interesting anecdote I have comes from the perspective of "engineer that worked closely with over a dozen startup founders": Usually when I give probabilities they end up being turned to ~100% or ~0% based on whether or not they fit the narrative.

"Yes, I think this NLP product can be done within a month or two, I'd say 50-60% chance"

"No, I don't think I can make it run on ARM, I mean, I'm not sure, but I'm like 2/3rds certain"

Somehow gets turned into: Within a month we'll have this NLP tool available for Android!

This is actually fine, in the sense of a 1/6 chance of getting a nice product is actually ok. If you approach 3,4,5,6, 10 ideas that way, chances are one will work.

My question is really "why not say there's a 1/6 chance it will work?", after all investors/early-customers/employees understand that new products are risky business and adjust accordingly.

I assume it's a cultural thing where people don't deal well with probabilities, which lead to assigning a probability being equivalent to "this guy doesn't think he can do it", because people only assigned probabilities to things that were basically impossible, and set numbers way too high.

But it seems likely that the culture will shift away from that in the near future.

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Or, tell the truth better. Say that something *can* be, instead of *is*. Tell it convincingly, sure, but don't lie when your conscience pings. Otherwise you might lose it.

Drawing the line at zero might be better then trying to find it, surely when it defines the cornerstone of human interaction - trust.

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